A yellowed newspaper clipping about a recently released prisoner who has saved a drowning boy triggers a wrenching journey into memory for middle-aged Ruth Callis, forcing her to confront the events of her past and, ultimately, her own act of forgiveness.
Growing up in the far North, Ruth is attracted to the young missionaries working in her town and becomes increasingly involved in the activities of their evangelical fundamentalist church group. Much to the dismay of her long-suffering parents, she turns into an adolescent zealot. When Ruth moves south to go to university, life becomes less simple, answers less obvious. She becomes involved with Ian, an older man who is unemployed, alcoholic, obsessive, and increasingly volatile. What at first seems exotic becomes more and more frightening. The devastating relationship forces Ruth to re-examine her own twisted ideologies. A book of rare emotional honesty, Released reveals the selfishness of the so-called righteous, the intense cruelty of human beings, and their divine capability for real love.